Question: What did you mean when you said the spiritual Master is not a camel, but he has to have the shoulders of a camel?

Sri Chinmoy: We can put a heavy load on the back of a camel, because we know that the camel can carry it. The camel can cross the burning, scorching desert with that kind of burden. The camel can do everything that we consider a hardship.

A spiritual Master is not a camel, true. The consciousness of a spiritual Master is considerably higher than the consciousness of a camel. But a spiritual Master who consciously takes the responsibility of hundreds and thousands of disciples on his shoulders is like a camel. The camel does not ask you to put a heavy load on his back. But the spiritual Master not only consciously takes a person's responsibilities but also tries to help that person come out of ignorance. You are doing something wrong and I am trying to be inside your suffering. But it is another thing to bring you out of the suffering itself. This is more difficult and much more important. If you are suffering, an ordinary human being has the power to identify and show you sympathy. But a spiritual Master will not only show sympathy, but will also try to take your pangs, sorrows and burdens out of your system. To enter into somebody's suffering is difficult, true, but to take away all that person's suffering is much more difficult. This is what a spiritual Master consciously does. Nobody can impose responsibilities on the spiritual Master if he does not want to shoulder them. But again, if he takes responsibility, he does it with his love, concern and compassion.

A camel is not aware of God-realisation; far from it. But man is aware of it, although he may not be making an effort to realise God. He knows that there is someone called God and that He has to be realised. When a spiritual Master comes into the life of a seeker, he makes the seeker consciously feel, at every moment, that he has to realise God. First the Master injects into the spiritual seekers the necessity of God-realisation. Then he inspires the disciple-seekers. And finally he brings down God's Light, Peace and Bliss and God-realisation for his disciples. These are the responsibilities and self-imposed duties of a spiritual Master. From the highest point of view, these duties are ordained by God.

Who can take this kind of responsibility? A camel? A camel takes his burden for six to ten years and then its body becomes useless and it dies. But a spiritual Master never becomes useless. Even when he leaves the body, he has to work for his disciples. That is the difference between the burden of a camel and the duties of a spiritual Master. The spiritual Master takes eternal responsibility for his dearest and closest disciples. So he has the shoulders of a divine camel.